America, the Owner's Manual
You Can Fight City Hall—and Win
- Bob Graham - Bob Graham Center for Public Service, University of Florida
- Chris Hand
American Government and Politics
While it is not surprising that Americans would channel their frustrations into votes for contenders who pledge to end business as usual, the truth is that we don’t have to pin our hopes for greater participation on any one candidate. All of us have a say—if we learn, master and practice the skills of effective citizenship.
One of the biggest roadblocks to participation in democracy is the perception that privileged citizens and special interests command the levers of power and that everyday Americans can’t fight City Hall. That perception is undoubtedly why a 2015 Pew Charitable Trusts survey found that 74 percent of those Americans surveyed believed that most elected officials didn't care what people like them thought.
Graham and Hand intend to change that conventional wisdom by showing citizens how to flex their citizenship muscles. They describe effective citizenship skills and provide tips from civic experts. Even more importantly, they offer numerous examples of everyday Americans who have used their skills to make democracy respond. The reader will see themselves in these examples of citizens who chose to be victorious participants rather than tranquil spectators in the arena of democracy. By the end of the book, you will have new confidence that citizen participation is the lifeblood of America -- and will be ready to make governments work for you, not the other way around.
"When it comes to the state of American democracy, are you a doer or a complainer? In America, The Owner's Manual, Bob Graham and Chris Hand don't just urge more Americans to be better citizens. They provide the instructions.”
“Americans need to be reminded of the importance of their role in our democracy. We are the only ones who can change the direction of our country. America, the Owner's Manual provides just the roadmap to achieve those changes."
“Bob Graham and Chris Hand's book, America, the Owner’s Manual: You Can Fight City Hall–and Win, is an exciting, energizing and hope-giving guide to effective citizenship.”
"Bob Graham belongs to that now practically endangered breed of public servant that put country above politics. Sen. Graham and Chris Hand provide an important read to those of us who want to see citizens restore those governing values in American democracy."
“In America, the Owner's Manual, Senator Bob Graham and Chris Hand honor the ideal of a government of, by, and for the people by preparing citizens with the skills they need to hold public officials accountable."
"Combining expert advice with relevant and timely examples, America, the Owner's Manual is a straightforward and accessible ‘how to’ guide to working for change in any political system. “
"Senator Bob Graham and Chris Hand have provided a how-to manual complete with clear examples, simple rules of the political road and smart strategies for Americans ready to get off the couch and get results from their government."
“Senator Bob Graham and Chris Hand have produced an invaluable primer on how American citizens can be involved in politics and affect policy change."
“America, the Owner's Manual is the only book that comprehensively explains how to be effective in American politics and civic life, and it does so brilliantly. It’s consistently practical, realistic, accessible, and inspiring."